So how did The Contented Kid Cookbook of Treats & Eats. come to be?
I suppose the story starts back in the Summer of 2009 with the birth of our first daughter. Along with the many hours spent feeding her, and my NCT friends’ experiences of feeding their babies, came the discovery of lactogenic foods and herbs and their supportive effect on breast milk supply and the subsequent creation of The Contented Calf Cookbook: Nourishing Meals for Breastfeeding Mums.
But babies don’t stop growing-up do they? And before I knew it my breastfeeding days were drawing to a close.
Fast-forward five years, and in Summer 2014 my Husband and I move to California with a Two-Year-Old and an Almost-Five-Year-Old.
Despite moving to an English-speaking country, so many things were new to us: the Summer heat, the beautiful yet slightly un-nerving clear blue skies, the parks, the traffic, the driving on the right, the house, the school system… and the food. We hadn’t moved to a totally different culture, with a very different cuisine. But things tasted ‘different’ nevertheless.
Most things our palettes transitioned too quickly and easily (I’m not going to lie: the fruit in California is out of this world – so sweet, fragrant, juicy, fresh). Some things the girls especially couldn’t quite get used to – the milk for example. (I’ve finally settled on Straus, which tastes the closest to what we’ve been used to.)
Another item we really missed was low sugar kids’ Fromage Frais. You know, something to give the kids after dinner sometimes that isn’t too sweet, but can masquerade as ‘pudding’…
Everywhere I looked, all the yoghurts were packed full of sugar, even the ‘healthy’ organic ones – 19g / nearly 5 teaspoons of sugar per pot! That’s a lot, for a small pot of yoghurt, especially when a child’s in-take of sugar should be a maximum of 3 teaspoons a day. I tried the girls on plain Greek yoghurt, but it was obviously a no-go – we all know it’s a bit sour-tasting and takes some getting used to, don’t we?
So what did I do about our lack of low-sugar Fromage Frais then…?
I set about trialling and error-ing with various wholesome ingredients, and developing my own. Let me tell you something I know you already know: children are harsh critics. If they don’t like something, they tell you. They don’t hold back. So I kept on trying until I got it just right. And that homemade ‘Fromage Frais’ was the starting point for The Contented Kid Cookbook.
Next came Ice Lollies, Ice-Creams, Cake… Any ‘Sweet Treat’ that I wanted my girls to have as treats, but that I just couldn’t bring myself to buy in store, fully manufactured, loaded with sugar and full of nasties.
I suppose in an ideal world, in an ideal cookbook, all the recipes would be totally sugar-free and only sweetened by fruit, if that.
That is not the case with this cookbook. Let me tell you here and now, I believe in moderation, not extremes. Wherever possible, I have reduced the sugar in the recipe, or switched it for fruit. That said, I don’t avoid it completely. I believe that being armed with information about what sugar does to our bodies, how much (well, how little) we should have of it, along with the nutritional benefits of various foods, allows us to make informed decisions about what we eat and when. We are able to see sugary treats as that, treats, not every day foods. And when we do indulge, we do so in the understanding of from where every ingredient has come.
Happy making, baking, eating and treating!
picture by Jess Morgan Photography